Our Readers' Lives with Schizophrenia

Chapter 9. Refusing Medication

Updated: Oct. 24, 2000

Reba, mother of Eric:
When my son takes his medicine, he becomes less symptomatic. He has been in denial for years and discontinued his medicine on several occasions, which ends in disaster. He goes through cycles where he will take his medication, participate in appropriate programs and functions much better; then he quits taking meds and starts his wandering from city to city becoming lost, confused, and homeless.

After I went off my anti-psychotic medications a couple of times and got sick, my psychiatrist took away my driver's licence. Talk about motivation. I was furious at him but I had no choice and went back on my anti-psychotics. When I was healthy again he reinstated my driver's licence. This method worked far better for me than the fear of hospitalization. Today I'm still on my meds and am a happy motorist.

[Sept. 28, 2000]
My father was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and also Manic Depressive Disorder. He often did not want to take his medications and his symptoms would become worse. Often, my mother had to call the police to escort him to get help. By that point, he was unmanageable and would not go voluntarily. He often complained of the side effects of the medications. I think it's terrible how this disease is treated. It is also very hard on families of people who have Schizophrenia. People with this illness need ongoing support. Their families need to understand the disease and effects of the medications. The medication that my father was on eventually gave him Parkinson's disease, and as a result, he died at age 70. My mother stayed with him throughout his illness, but it was very sad. I admit that I was angry at the situation, but I did not understand everything, as we did not have family talks about this.

[Oct. 19, 2000]
After my son has taken the medicine for a while, he would start to feel better and he felt he shouldn't have to take it anymore. He always says that he was cured! There has been times that he would hide his pills on me and say he took them already and then I would find a pile of pills under the dresser.

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